June 12, 2012


New Blood Keeps it Fresh in Omaha


By Phil Stanton


Phil@CollegeBaseballInsider.com @roadtoomaha


The word ‘parity’ has gotten overused in sports. But there is more balance now than ever before in Division I college baseball.


There are two teams making their first appearances in the 2012 College World Series, making eight in the past six years.


The two party-crashers this season are Kent State and Stony Brook, raising the total to 112 for programs which have reached the College World Series. Both come from non-traditional power conferences. The Golden Flashes are from the Mid-American Conference, and a MAC school has not reached Omaha since Eastern Michigan was national runner-up in 1976 (Kent State is the first team from Ohio to reach Omaha since 1970). The Seawolves are the first America East team to play in the CWS.


In looking at the College World Series fields, there have been numerous first-time participants over the past 13 seasons, and at least one new member each of the past four seasons.


From 1995-99, there was only one team able to crack the Omaha club. Rice made its first of seven trips in 1997, going 0-2.


As we entered the new century, there were two newbies for two straight years. In 2000, Louisiana-Lafayette and San Jose State both made their debuts, with the Ragin’ Cajuns going 2-2 and the Spartans falling twice. A year later, nearby Nebraska was 0-2 and Tulane went 1-2 in their first visits to Rosenblatt Stadium.


Over the next five campaigns, just one first-timer appeared in Omaha. The 2003 edition saw Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State) go 0-2.


There have been eight rookies to appear in the College World Series over the past six seasons. UC Irvine (2-2) and Louisville (0-2) made it in 2007. Two seasons later, another pair arrived in Southern Miss (0-2) and Virginia (1-2). In the past two tourneys, first-timers have had much success in their first trip to Omaha. TCU went 3-2 in 2010, while Vanderbilt was 2-2 in 2011.


The last team to win a national championship in its first trip to the College World Series was Minnesota in 1956.


We’ll see how Kent State and Stony Brook fare this year. But there should continue to be fresh faces appearing in the College World Series for years to come.


(photo courtesy of SBU Media Relations Office)